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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): We welcome the engagement of the Stability Pact in helping to resolve the problems of south east Europe and share many of the views expressed by Mr Hombach in the International Herald Tribune article of 13 March.
Since 1997, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has opened the following posts to support the delivery of the foreign policy objectives my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary set out on coming to office. Posts with resident UK-based staff
|Banja Luka (Bosnia- Herzegovina) (1997)||British Embassy Office|
|Chongqing (China) (2000)||Consulate General|
|Denver (USA) (2000)||Consulate|
|Dilj (East Timor) (2000)||British Office|
|Gothenburg (Sweden) (2000)||Consulate General|
|Pristina (Kosovo FRY) (2000)||British Office|
|Lome (Togo) (1998)||Consulate|
|Calgary (Canada) (1999)||British Trade Office|
|Fukuoka (Japan) (1999)||Consulate|
|Ahmedabad (India) (2000)||British Trade Offices|
|Bamako (Mali) (2000)||Consulate|
|Bhopal (India) (2000)||British Trade Office|
|Conakry (Guinea) (2000)||Consulate|
|Goa (India) (2000)||British Trade Office|
|Hyderabad (India) (2000)||British Trade Office|
|Port-au-Prince (Haiti) (2000)||Consular Office|
|Pune (India) (2000)||British Trade Office|
|Bangalore (India) (1999)||British Trade Office|
|Nagoya (Japan) (1999)||Consulate|
|Monterrey (Mexico) (2000)||Consulate|
As a direct result of the additional resources secured in the spending review last year, we are able to announce that we shall open three new embassies with resident UK-based staff in capital cities in the near future:
|Chisinau (Moldova)||Pyongyang (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)|
In addition, we shall upgrade the posts in Bamako (Mali) and Asmara (Eritrea) to UK-staffed posts from the LE posts currently open; and upgrade the post in Lahore (Pakistan) to an entry clearance operation from a British trade office. Pakistan is a country where we are already well represented but Lahore is a city where we now need a stronger presence.
Upgrading the post in Asmara will be a cost-effective means of engaging more effectively with the Eritrean Government, promoting growing trade opportunities for British business and providing improved consular and visa services.
In December my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary announced the establishment of diplomatic relations with the DPRK. Opening an embassy in Pyongyang will allow HMG to engage fully with the DPRK, improving our capacity to analyse political, economic and social developments and to help support recent positive developments in inter-Korean relations.
These new post openings mean that, net of closures, we shall since 1997 have expanded our diplomatic network of posts with resident UK-based staff by 12, in addition to having new locally-staffed offices in a further 10 cities (net of closure, seven). This strengthening of our global network will enable us better to promote UK interests and a strong world community.
Romania faces many challenges to reduce poverty in the country. We are working closely with the new government and the international community to help them. The agenda set out in our published Country Strategy Paper in October 1999 is being taken forward and progress on it was recently reviewed with the Romanian authorities.
Baroness Amos: Sustainable development is one of the International Development Targets (IDTs) which the Government have made the centre of their development policy. DfID has recently published a document Achieving Sustainability: Poverty Elimination and the Environment as a strategy paper on how DfID and the international community should achieve the IDT on sustainable development by 2015.
DfID is helping formulate guidance on the principles of sustainable development planning, together with other donors and a number of developing countries, through the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD. A draft is due to be considered by the DAC High Level Ministerial meeting on 25/26 April and fed into the preparatory process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Jo'burg, 2002). DfID is also supporting a number of developing country partners, for example Uganda and South Africa, in applying the principles for sustainable development planning.
DfID's Public Service Agreement for 2001-04 is based on achieving the IDTs. Objective II is to promote sustainable development through co-ordinated UK and international action, including by gaining international agreement on the integration of social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainable development into poverty reduction programmes. The new Service Delivery Agreement says how we intend to deliver this objective: by developing, and securing wide international agreement to, guidance on the principles of strategic planning for sustainable development by end-2001;
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): This has been under consideration for some time as a means of ensuring the efficient and effective implementation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, which provides for the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes. We are pleased to announce that the existing complement of 21 inspectors will be increased to 33 over the next three financial years.
The extra 12 inspectors will result in a substantial and unprecedented level of inspectorate staffing. This will lead to more inspections to ensure compliance with licence conditions and will enable applications for authorities under the 1986 Act to be dealt with more efficiently, without compromising the quality of advice offered by the inspectorate. Furthermore, the Home Office will be able to become more proactive in raising standards of animal care and welfare, and to play a greater role in developing and promoting strategies of "replacement, reduction and refinement".
We hope that the scientific community and animal welfare organisations, and the general public, will welcome this important announcement. It is a practical demonstration of the Government's commitment to ensure that, for as long as there is a need to use animals in scientific research, the legislation to protect them is applied to maximum effect.
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